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View Full Version : Tire irons or other tire changing equipment



vvill
11-21-2011, 09:43 PM
Anyone want to recommend a tire iron? I currently have two sets. One set of 2 Topeak plastic ones that came as part of a multi-tool - finally snapped one tonight*. And one set of 2 metal ones (steel I think) that came as part of a cheap generic bike tool set. Great for scratching up rims and creating pinch flats in new tubes*. I think they probably have about 15 years of very intermittent use between them. Time to get a decent set methinks.

The other thing I guess is my technique sucks. I think I've changed tires more than any other bike maintenance activity (except pumping them up) but I still feel easily frustrated every time I do it. Tips?

* Corresponding extra credit story of arduousness:
A few weeks ago I got new disc wheels (with wider rims), a front disc brake, a 7-speed cassette and Nokian studded tires for my 26" MTB, and installed it all fine. I finished the 30 mi of "break-in" mileage to seat the studs yesterday and the foreseeable weather forecast is far too warm for ice but too wet and leafy for my road bike so I decided to put the old (non-disc) wheels with 26x1.25 back on. The rear wheel swap was fine, but I didn't anticipate the lacing of a disc wheel being so different. The old front wheel wouldn't fit without uninstalling the disc brake (I'd kept the cable / noodle of the old front brake thinking I could swap back easily) so I opted to instead take off the studded tire that I'd put on recently and just put on the stock 26x1.95 tire that came with the bike which was hanging up in the basement. Half and hour of frustration later I'm trying to take off the 26x1.95 as either the uninstall of the studded tire or the install of the old stock tire ended up wrecking the virtually brand new inner tube. Grr. One slower, more patient install later, the job is completed but the rim is now scratched up and even the wire bead was bent up on the old tire (I hand straightened it - hopefully it holds up, although I did a quick loop around the block to make sure I did nothing too catastrophic, and to vent some steam.)

5555624
11-22-2011, 01:29 AM
I use a Crank Brothers Speed Lever. I was looking for a pic and found a
video demonstration (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GgLY3HfTq3E) that shows how it works. It runs about $7-$8.

PrintError
11-22-2011, 06:39 AM
I use a Crank Brothers Speed Lever. I was looking for a pic and found a
video demonstration (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GgLY3HfTq3E) that shows how it works. It runs about $7-$8.
I used one for years until it finally broke, now I just use Pedro's levers.

For my snow tires, I use large flathead screwdrivers. The plastic levers don't have enough beans.

Dirt
11-22-2011, 07:01 AM
Pedro's milk levers have been my faves for years. They work well, last a long time and are made from recycled milk bottles. They also are available in PINK! I bought a set a few weeks ago for $5.

I occasionally have a set of very stubborn tires... Vittoria's touring tires are notoriously tight on some rims. For those I use Lyzene's plastic tire levers. They're more expensive, ($8) but are a little stronger. No love for the color pink though. You gotta choose between black or white.

Hope that helps a little.

Pete

vvill
11-22-2011, 07:24 AM
Thanks guys! I'll probably buy a couple sets since I keep one in each bike's saddle bag. I'll try Pedro's, I have their pedal wrench and like it.


For my snow tires, I use large flathead screwdrivers. The plastic levers don't have enough beans.

Sounds good but how do you make sure you're not shredding the bead/scratching up the rims/digging into the tube? I think after yesterday's fun I'll stick with plastic levers.

Dirt
11-22-2011, 08:25 AM
I'll try Pedro's, I have their pedal wrench and like it.
I should add a disclaimer... I'm good friends with some of the top mgmt at Pedro's. I loved the company and their tire levers for 25 years before I met them. :D

PrintError
11-22-2011, 10:08 AM
Thanks guys! I'll probably buy a couple sets since I keep one in each bike's saddle bag. I'll try Pedro's, I have their pedal wrench and like it.



Sounds good but how do you make sure you're not shredding the bead/scratching up the rims/digging into the tube? I think after yesterday's fun I'll stick with plastic levers.

I don't. I'm not very careful. The studded tires are a PITA, and I just muscle the suckers on there.

vvill
11-22-2011, 11:14 AM
I should add a disclaimer... I'm good friends with some of the top mgmt at Pedro's. I loved the company and their tire levers for 25 years before I met them. :D

That's cool! They seem like they have a good reputation for being green.

Btw, where'd you get the milk levers? I can't find them online anywhere.


I don't. I'm not very careful. The studded tires are a PITA, and I just muscle the suckers on there.

I did that too with my steel levers, and ended up scratching up the rims and putting multiple punctures in a nice new inner tube. :/

Dirt
11-22-2011, 01:06 PM
They appear to have changed the name of them. They just call them tire levers. They may have changed the recycled content. I know REI stocks them. I'll do some research and see if they still have recycled content.

hencio
11-22-2011, 01:23 PM
I've been using the same "quick stick" tire lever for about 10 years now. (the first one lasted around 10 years too)
http://www.rei.com/product/546083/quik-stik-tire-changer

I misplaced the quick stick at some point and bought some top peak tire levers. I broke2 or 3 of them in a matter of 3 tire changes. Eventually I found the quickstick and all was good in the world.

vvill
11-22-2011, 03:29 PM
They appear to have changed the name of them. They just call them tire levers. They may have changed the recycled content. I know REI stocks them. I'll do some research and see if they still have recycled content.

Thanks. It's okay, I went ahead anyway and bought a couple of the pink ones online - they were cheaper than the yellow ones.


I've been using the same "quick stick" tire lever for about 10 years now. (the first one lasted around 10 years too)
http://www.rei.com/product/546083/quik-stik-tire-changer

I misplaced the quick stick at some point and bought some top peak tire levers. I broke2 or 3 of them in a matter of 3 tire changes. Eventually I found the quickstick and all was good in the world.

Looks interesting, I might check it out. I bought a Groupon for REI that I need to use one day.

elcee
11-22-2011, 10:14 PM
I've been looking for the legendary Michelin tire levers but have not found them locally nor at my usual on-line retailers:

http://tenerife-training.net/Tenerife-News-Cycling-Blog/2007/12/bike-review/michelin-the-worlds-best-tyre-lever/

Everything else seems to break eventually.

I also discovered that I've been mounting tires incorrectly. See Michelin's advice, step 5:

http://www.michelinbicycletire.com/michelinbicycle/index.cfm?event=mounting.view

I've always started at the valve, but Michelin says to start at the opposite side. I'll try their technique the next time.

Mark Blacknell
11-23-2011, 07:48 AM
The Quik Stik is too bendy for my tastes. Like Pete, I recommend the Pedro's levers above all else. They're the neon-colored ones next to the cash register in nearly every bike shop around here. They'll get the job done. I don't understand why metal levers are even made anymore.

Dirt
11-23-2011, 07:52 AM
I've been looking for the legendary Michelin tire levers but have not found them locally nor at my usual on-line retailers
I think I have a few sets laying around. Send me an IM. I'll check and see. I buy them whenever I'm in Europe because I have friends that love them. They're not my favorites. They work pretty well though.

5555624
11-23-2011, 08:33 AM
I've been looking for the legendary Michelin tire levers but have not found them locally nor at my usual on-line retailers

Not the "standard" 3-pack, but: http://www.bicyclebuys.com/tires/TireTools/0100065